Cricket goes digital!

ipl trophy

18 Indian and overseas companies bid for the permit, bidders include Amazon, Facebook, BT, Sky, Sony Pictures and ESPN

Vying to tap into the nation’s growing mobile internet audience, Inc., Facebook Inc., and Twitter Inc. have entered a bidding battle for rights to stream Indian Premier League cricket matches.

Indian Premier League received an astonishing response from as many as 18 Indian and global media and technology companies, the BCCI announced on Tuesday.

Additional bidders include BT Group Plc and Sky Plc along with global media giants 21st-Century-Fox-owned Star India Pvt., Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. and ESPN Digital Media (India) Pvt.

Twitter which experienced a 56 percent increase in tweets linked to the IPL this year compared to a year ago, Suresh Vaidyanathan, a Head of Communications for Twitter in India, wrote in an e-mail, further stating that 90 percent of its Indian users were followers of the game.

As the world’s second-most populated nation is on the brink of a digital streaming growth. India is said to have 730 million internet users by 2020, as per a brief from India’s IT industry organization Nasscom and also Akamai Technologies.

“The demand for cricket and the real probability of spending it live on a personal device makes for a hugely appealing mixture, and it is exactly what the global companies are working for,” said Shabir Momin, who is the managing director of Singapore-based, a large over-the-top and digital video services in India.

Most of the demand for digital services is believed to be stoked by people utilizing web-based services on smartphones. Live streaming of cricket, which is the most popular sport in the country, would be an effective way to reach a broad following.

Bids are up for five years starting in 2017 for the Digital media rights for IPL’s Twenty20 cricket league. The deadline is October 25, with the selected candidates to be declared soon after.

Facebook is believed to be exploring with a mixture of sports content, which includes behind-the-scenes interviews with athletes along live streaming games.

“We have seen excellent results when we’ve streamed games live — and remain to be interested in examining the viability of this content,”

Facebook Live has previously streamed soccer matches between Manchester United and Everton, allowing fans to greet star player Wayne Rooney and donate to his foundation and also for fans chat with other fans.

Last month Amazon reported two content licensing deals in India with some leading Bollywood production corporations Dharma Productions and T-Series, as the Seattle-based online retailer rolls to attract users to join its Amazon Prime subscription service.



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